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>> hi, i'm lisa fletcher, and you're in "the stream." it's a major buzz kill that impacts us all. why are so many bees dying, and what's being done to help the hives survive. so the next time you're eating, think about this. every third bite of food can be traced back to bees. the typy insects produce more than just honey. bees help to pollinate 98% of flowers and crops. they're an integral part of the
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ecosystem that some are warning is being lost. beekeepers are reporting mass die offs. between 25 and 40% of bees have disappeared because of colony collapse. scientists say that it's habitats, dwindling food supplies, and diseases that target bees. and a potential killer, pesticides. to protect the crops, they're killing bees. and they are starting to carry bee advisories in 2014. but some are demanding more, pointing to the european union's two year ban. in banning pesticides, it makes the situations worse, so how do we figure out what's causing bees to die off and coming up with a solution to save them?
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raj is here, and i got to tell you, it was quite depressing for you and me reading all of the research for this program and millions of bees dying off. >> it was depressing and horrifying. it's like a bad horror movie. and the online community, using the hashtag, he says: >> we're going to address all of that. and larry, the cofounder of eco honeybees. a unique beekeeping business that help people start and paint
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hives. and jennifer, the senior scientist with the defense council and she focuses on chemical policy examinations reg layings, and wally thermon, a professor of economics in the north carolina state university. welcome everyone to "the stream." and jennifer, this is something that you look at day in and day out and you provide testimony and scientific briefs to congress on these issues, and where do things stand for bee populations right now? how bad is it? >> it's very serious. and in fact, we can't overstate how serious it is. i'm getting a lot of feedback, an echo. one-third of the food that we eat comes from bees and requires pollination from bees, and our fruits, like tree fruits, and pumpkins, and blueberries and a lot of nuts, and so literally one in three bites of food is
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relying on pollinators, and already, we don't have enough native bees to pollinate our crops, and now we're seeing a decline in the commercial bees. >> larry, you're involved in much larger issues. what killed the hives, and what do you suspect is taking them out? >> there are numerous reasons why a beehive can go bad, whether it be insecticide, herbicide, pollution, or just because when beekeepers start hives in these areas, they will generally do so from paged bees that are sourced from other parts of the country, and is you're getting bees that are not acclimated to our weather patterns. if you receive a package of bees in south georgia, that queen with 100 generations of being in georgia is not going to be attuned to the fact that we have
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winter here. so she might not impart an air of frugality to the bees that they need to survive for four months because for countless generations before, they have maybe a few weeks of cool weather, and that's it, and they get back to spring. and so there are numerous challenges. >> but from what you've seen on the ground. >> there's definitely a problem. >> is there one thing that beekeepers are pointing to than another? >> generally, they're being affected by the colony collapse disorder. where you come back to your hive one day late in the year and it's empty, or you see damage done to the brood, done to the bees, by mites and other types of parasites, and hive beatles, other things of that nature, and things are going on in the hives and hurting the bees themselves. >> wally, you're an economist.
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and what's your interest? the bees? >> i've been looking at the bees for several years because of the program and i've been fascinated of how beekeepers migrated across the country, and almonds in california, and cranberries in maine, and market coordination. >> we have community coming in here: >> jennifer, back to you, take me through this domino affect,
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and suppose the bees keep dwindling, how will that affect us as human beings? >> so right now, we know we have lost about 40% of our bee colonies over the last ten years. i'm talking commercial bees at this point. and if we continue to lose commercial bees at that rate, we won't be able to pollinate our food in another ten years, and this is very serious. this is a food security issue that i don't think can be overstated. in fact, when i talk to epa scientists working on this issue, they say it's one of the most serious food security issues right now, with the loss of the bees. so it's very very serious. now, we can import commercial bees. and the they have many of the problems and challenges that have been stated. but in addition, we're not really solving the problem that way. it's more than commercial bees. there are more than 400 species of native bees in the country, and native bees are involved in
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pollination and services, and they're part of the essential wave length, and we're losing a lot of those species too, so it's very serious. >> jennifer, explain the pesticides, and what are they and do they kill the bees directly or indirectly? what's going on here. >> they're a class of pesticides that have been around for the last couple of decades. they were originally put on the market to replace pesticides that were very toxic, and organa phosphates, they were in during the war era as chemical warfare agents, and after the war use for them was over, the companies decided to put blow them out onto our crops, and that class of chemicals are associated with bird kills and fish kills, and
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worker poisonings, so people that work the fields. so these were a class of pesticides intended to replace those and they intend to be safer. they actually soak into the plant and that was considered to be a good thing because they're not on the leaf when the workers pick the fruit and touch them. and also with rain, they don't runoff into the straps. that's the idea -- the streams. it's like a medication that you might give the dog or cat and it makes their blood toxic. >> so that seems like it wouldn't hurt the bees. >> the problem, what we know now, getting it into the plant and making it insecticide al, and making it poisonous to insects also poisons bees. especially when we know that the pesticides are getting into the nectar and the pollen, and the bees are taking it back to their
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colony and the whole colony and becoming contaminated. >> our community echoes the sentiment. a lot of criticism about the pesticides: >> just to add quickly that they are mostly made by bayer company. >> good point. first of all, give us your take on these numbers, and i know that you don't necessarily agree with what's out there. >> what i share with jennifer
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certainly and the beekeeping industry, is concern, the beekeepers face real challenges, and the insecticides are part of the challenges, and parasites, and all sorts of things that the beekeepers have to deal with that challenge their sustainability. but important to the perspective, there are more bee colonies in the united states than there were back in 2007, before this colony collapse that marlene refers to hit. now, when you say, as jennifer did, that we have lost 40% of the bee colonies, the intelligent listener and observer will say, we had 100 before, and we have 60 now, since we lost 40%. but what we're saying is that beekeepers normally lose a
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fraction of their bees each winter. the bees only live about six weeks, and the colony persists, and it's a living biological entity, and if a beekeeper puts them out over the winter, he's going to come back and find maybe a 15% loss, or 30% loss. if they have 30%, and they have seven colonies of bees, they can split the remaining healthy hives, and buildup to 100 colonies in a matter of weeks. so the beekeepers are doing this, and that's why we have more bee colonies than we did. it's not saying that everything is rosie in the beekeeping world, but beekeepers are savvy. >> after the break, we're going to face this idea of high-rises
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and condos in urban areas. we want to know if it's all buzz or if it turns what some considers a crisis around.
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>> it's really a recent phenomenon because it helps the environment. this is a great bioindicator of how well they're doing, and a lot of people are doing it in france. it's a really big urban area, and so is new york.
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>> welcome back, the video shot by the bee team at george washington university in dc. and it has hives on the campus. and urban beekeeping is taking off. and they're trying to legalize it in many cities. it could cause more harm than good. but talk to us about raising bees in the community. >> i love our community, they're so informed. ursula said: >> so larry, talk a little bit
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about the difference between commercial beekeeping and urban beekeeping, and if it's something that can turn the situation around. >> well, commercial beekeeping, i always considered it to be an artificial industry, because it became necessary once our agricultural industry decided to move over to a mono crop format. where if you have 50,000 acres of almonds, the bees can't survive except for the time when the almonds are putting out flowers. >> so they had to be brought in? >> so they had to have this artificial industry with a bee circus where they're moving them around. and the reason is there are no more hives out there. with the pollination. urban beekeeping, suburban beekeeping, and rural beekeeping.
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people not in the business of beekeeping, but the to have hives on their homes, that's the answer. we're trying to change the world one hive at a time. >> so jennifer, listen. before the break, you and wally were contradicting each other in terms of the numbers ask where we're at globally and what it means. and we don't want to get into too much of a numbers discussion, but maybe we can broaden this out a little bit. in terms of what the eu is doing and the numbers, they see enough problems to put a temporary ban on this product for two years to make sure that it's safe for bees. one, is that a good move? and two, is there enough time? >> that's a really good question, and it's a great move because we can do something about those, and those are good
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moves and we're supporting that. you mentioned the colonies, and when you count the number of colonies, it's hard because the beekeepers do split their colonies, it's true, and they lose some in winter and that's normal. and i've had colonies, and we always lose some at winter. a good way it look at the bees is honey production, and if you look at it over time, it drops precipitously, using the honey production data, and it's on my blog. >> how close are we to not being able to meet the pollination needs of u.s. ago culture in. >> in short, not close at all. again, not everything is rosie in the land of bees, and i'm
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very interested to see jennifer's demonstration that ne-yo fic teenoids are responsible. but setting up beekeeping that takes place, and it takes them all over to pollinate almonds and california, and all over the continent. they moved all around. and it displaces some of their activity. so i think that you need to factor in what beekeepers are focusing on, and if they're doing more pollinating, they're doing less production, and that's a natural outcome. i'm not concerned at all about the production.
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so what will be the potential consequence of banning this in the united states? >> i want to bring together a couple of points here. so wally is making some good points that i think need to be brought to the surface, which is i don't think anybody, and certain me is not saying that the ne-yo nicotinoidses are the cause, and i don't think that anybody can tell what you it is. and if it would be, it wouldn't be such an interesting problem for sure. we know that the mites and the
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pathiens, and infections are part of the problem, and we know that the bees are being overworked and moved around a lot because of their commercial practices, and we also know that the colonies are split up and some are weak, and new bees are being brought in as well. so these are difficult situations. the european union does not have the cause to say that neo nicotinoids are the cause of the decline, and the reason they're a attributer, the amounts that they're giving bees, there have been a number of experiments, including those published in science in the last year that show field realistic levels, and then where their behaviors can be studied, we know they're not
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producing as many queens when they're exposed to neonicotinoids. and while it's true that there are tens of thousands of bees in the colony, they can be healthy, but you can't lose your queen and be healthy and you can't go into winter without that. and they're not foraging as well, and not preparing themselves for winter as well. and other activities are abnormal, and they're not being as productive as workers and doing their worker bee jobs, and very importantly, we know that their immune systems have been compromised. there are a number of studies with field realistic exposure to neonicotinoids. >> there are a lot of contributing factors, and i wish that we had an hour for this show, but we have another commercial break. you don't have to be a keeper to
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help sustain the populations, something that everyone can do to help.
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>> welcome back, we're talking about the state of local bee populations because they're dying off. and inevitably, people want to do something, and they don't know what to do, and do not know where to start. but not everyone is cut out for beekeeping. jennifer, what are things that people can do around their homes to help. >> well, there are a couple of big important things. some people want to have colonies in their backyard and it's great. and i had a couple of them in my backyard and i loved collecting honey from them. but one thing, when we buy landscape plants, we make sure that we don't use pesticides in our gardens, and when we purchase them, they haven't been pretreated with pesticide. we are finding that many ornamental landscape plants are treated with test sides in the store before people buy them. and they're treated at such high
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levels that they're staying in the plants for years. >> if you go into a big box home, how do you know? >> they're not even labeled, the best thing to do, go to the store and say, i don't want any plants that have been treated with pesticides, so make sure that what you sell me is pesticide free. because they will serve the consumer's interests. >> on facebook: here's a video. >> insecticides are harming these, but we can't look at this issue in isolation. to survive, pollinators need save places to live. in this case of pollinators, that means flowers across all landscapes.
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farms, ranches, parks and in our own gardens, and keeping areas free from insecticides. all of us can take part in pollinator conservation. >> i'm a suburban guy, what can i do? >> everybody can talk about adding flowers, and planting clovers, most people who are homeowners already have the common sense to spray poisons or insecticides in their yards. but we can do all of that. but the fact of the matter is, the current populations of bees in most rural environments is so low, that you can plant whatever you want that there aren't going to be enough bees to take advantage of it. and right now, it's the bees that are needed. and i don't know of any one thing that any homeowner or business owner could do to have an impact on the local environment than adding a hive of bees to the property.
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this will bring the bees back to the area, and this is what so desperately needed. >> we have to pause there, and jennifer, we have 20 seconds left. not everybody agrees on the cause and the consequences, and what's the effect of doing nothing? >> well, we really can't wait on this problem. the bees can't wait. it's a complicated problem, but what we do know, the pesticides are harming the bees, and to ban them in ways that bees are exposed. >> that's all the time we have for the conference, than conver. and thank you all for joining us. until next time, raj and i will see on you line.
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>> good evening everyone welcome to al jazeera america i'm john seeing enthat willer in tho. >> a city declared bankruptcy what is means for employees counting o pensions. >> zoned out. what it means for. >> we have no problem nothing to hide. the iranian foreign minister when it comes to nuclear cape capability his cup wil country e transparent. what would you pay? imagine owning

The Stream
Al Jazeera America December 3, 2013 7:30pm-8:01pm EST

News/Business. Wajahat Ali. (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Jennifer 10, European Union 2, Rosie 2, California 2, Organa Phosphates 1, Georgia 1, Hashtag 1, South Georgia 1, France 1, Pesticide 1, University In Dc 1, Eu 1, North Carolina 1, Maine 1, Ranches 1, Reg Layings 1, Wally Thermon 1, Conver 1, Wally 1, Marlene 1
Network Al Jazeera America
Duration 00:31:00
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Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel v107
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
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on 12/4/2013